Egg Producer Programme for Free Range and Barn

Countdown own brand eggs to go cage-free

Countdown has committed to selling only free range and barn eggs across all its private label eggs by the end of 2022.

Under the New Zealand government’s Layer Hens Code of Welfare, farmers must stop producing traditional caged eggs by 31 December 2022. At this time, Countdown has decided it will no longer sell traditional (battery) or colony caged eggs.

To meet this goal, we will need to find approximately 40,000 dozen free range and barn eggs per week, or 25 million eggs per year. This is an ambitious target.

We are now confident to make this commitment because of the success of the Countdown Egg Producer Programme for Free Range and Barn Eggs, launched last year.

You can read the media release here.

About the Egg Producer Programme

The new Countdown Egg Producer Programme for Free Range and Barn is our commitment to increase the free range egg supply available at Countdown stores for our customers.

Currently just 18% of eggs produced in New Zealand are free range. Countdown has been steadily increasing our supply to meet customer demand. What this programme means is that our free range and barn egg farmers have certainty that their investment into increasing production will be worth it, and for Countdown it means we have a planned programme to supply these eggs to our customers.

We understand that making a commitment to increase production of free range and barn eggs requires investment and takes time.This programme allows farmers to invest in producing additional capacity, knowing that Countdown will commit to retailing the eggs in future.

Countdown will continue to offer customers a wide range of eggs at different prices for the foreseeable future. It is important to us that customers continue to have choices about the eggs they buy and that affordable eggs are available.

Long-time Countdown free range and barn egg farmers Wholesome NZOtaika Valley, and Frenz have joined the Countdown Egg Producer Programme for Free Range and Barn since it launched to farmers in July 2016.

Facts about the egg industry in NZ:

  • New Zealand has around 146 egg farms. Barn eggs account for five per cent of eggs produced, and free-range are at 18%*
  • Countdown sells up to 340,000 dozen eggs per week (that’s four million eggs per week)
  • There are 13 free range egg producers stocked on Countdown shelves
  • Presently around 40 per cent of Countdown egg sales are free range or barn eggs and this is growing. This varies significantly store to store, region to region.  
  • There are already three egg farmers that have signed up to the Free range and barn Egg producers programme to date (Wholesome NZ, Otaika Valley, and Frenz)
  • The New Zealand egg industry has committed to phasing out conventional cage eggs by 2022, under the Animal Welfare (Layer Hens) Code of 2012 developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. In place of caged eggs, we are told that the egg industry is investing in new colony cages. The Government regulates the industry, and MPI monitors compliance with this code.  
  • Challenges to producing free range and barn eggs include variations in district and regional council plans and processes, the time consents take to come through and the investment required before production is available to sell.
  • Countdown is just one of many egg retailers. Others include other supermarkets, specialty food shops, restaurants and cafes, bakers and wholesalers.

*Sourced from

If you are an egg producer and you’d like any further information about the programme or to find out how to sign up please email us at